Keeping a hotel room clean and tidy when traveling with kids can be a daunting task for many parents. To help families avoid a messy hotel room, here are our selected tips from a group of experienced (and tidy!) Traveling Moms.

How to Avoid a Messy Hotel Room- room pin

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As an experienced Traveling Mom, I get a lot of questions from other parents about traveling with kids. For the past decade, one of the more pressing questions that many have asked me has been how do I manage to avoid a messy hotel room  when we stay in a hotel room for several days.

Like most parents who have traveled with their children know, that’s not an easy task. From the minute you enter the room until you leave it several days later, keeping everything neat and clean in a tight space is an ongoing challenge. As one fellow TravelingMom told me, her hotel room looks like a war zone ten minutes after she and her family walk in.

So how do you keep your room looking clean and tidy when you travel with family?


I interviewed some of my experienced TravelingMom co-workers, and here are some of their best tips.

Come Organized and Keep Things Together

The basic concept of keeping the room tidy starts early on in the planning stages before the trip.
As some moms in the video (posted below) suggested, parents should head out to the dollar store and purchase several items that can be helpful:

  • A see-through shoe organizer for personal items like cell phones, I.D’s, wallets and room keys.
  • Fanny packs or backpacks for each child.
  • A power strip to plug all electronics in one place, so you don’t need to continuously go looking for them.
  • Different sized Ziploc bags to keep everything contained and make sure nothing gets forgotten or left behind.
  • Once you buy your supplies make sure that you label the bags – even the shoe organizer – with the name of the items that will be stored in each of them to make it easy for family members to remember what item goes in each bag.

Designate  Specific Areas in the Room for Everything

The first few minutes after you arrive in your room are quite significant and will make a difference between order and chaos in most cases. You need to do to scout out the room and delegate specific places for family members and items.

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photo credit Margalit Francus Autism Traveling Mom

It is important for each family member to have a place that they can not only put their belongings but remember where to go every morning to retrieve them. Furthermore, it is crucial to teach your family members to keep the items where they need to be and not spread or scatter them all over the room.

In our situation with our family of four, our kids usually get the dresser drawers while my husband and I share the closet space. I hang my clothes up, and my husband, who is taller, uses the high shelf to put his things.

Next, put all cosmetics and medicines in the bathroom either on the countertop or in hanging shoe bags so everybody in the family can remember and be able to retrieve essential items like shampoos, combs or over-the-counter medicines. I usually leave the central area right in front of the TV in the room for brochures and room keys, so everybody in my family remembers where these items belong.

It is advisable to designate a place in the hotel room for food since you will need a spot to put room-service trays, snacks or beverages. We’ve found the sitting area side tables, like those in the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista , to be the best place for that since they are located far away from all other surfaces. That distance will assure you won’t get other belongings, like electronic devices, ruined when spills occur.

Get Things  Off the Floor and Out of the Way 

If you have watched the video, you must have noticed that unpacking and putting luggage out of the way as soon as possible is a recurring theme. Many moms agree that jumping over dirty clothes and packages to get to your bed or the bathroom should be avoided.

The tip about putting luggage away either on the luggage rack, in the closet or under the bed is very valid, and you should adhere to this basic rule. The less clutter you come across every day, the more comfortable you are going to feel, and it will contribute to the overall hotel experience.

Other tips to minimize the room clutter include using a folding hamper for wet towels, placing dirty laundry back into marked bags, clearing away dirty dishes immediately, asking for extra garbage cans and packing purchases in the suitcases as soon as possible.

After a decade of traveling with my two sons here are my two personal tips:

In the past, we only noticed that items were missing AFTER we returned home. Retrieving lost items entailed spending time on the phone making numerous calls to trace the items and have them shipped back to us, which resulted in massive headaches and heartache when the items weren’t found.

And then, we learned a trick.

Now when we first get into the hotel room, we make sure to push all furniture pieces like dressers, beds, and nightstands as close to the wall as possible to close any gaps. This way we are minimizing the chance of any items falling behind them and going unnoticed. Also, we bring a small flashlight along to look under beds and other furniture for any items during our final inspection of the room before check-out. That way, we make sure we haven’t left anything behind.

Start Them Early

If you practice these tips with your kids, I can guarantee that your next vacation will go a lot smoother than former ones. Bear in mind that though pre-planning might look like a time-consuming extra step to some,  it does pay off!

As my Traveling Mom friend, Leslie Harvey, wisely pointed out, teaching kids to keep the room tidy from a young age never hurts.
Parents should involve their children in the process from the from the minute they enter the hotel room and encourage them to not only unpack their suitcase but put back their items in the assigned areas on daily basis. By repeating this routine time after time, they will eventually master the tips and become proficient travelers themselves.